Duchess of Cornwall applauds migrant’s school

Smithy Street school in Tower Hamlets has been at the forefront of civilizing the reading skills of the East End's Bangladeshi community and immigrant children whose English is poor or non-existent.



As per a report in  London Evening Standard the school where 99 per cent of pupils have English as their second language was given applaud by the Duchess of Cornwall today for its endeavour to improve literacy.

Smithy Street Head Teacher Edith Philipsen said that ninety-nine per cent of the children were bilingual. From day one they aim to raise standards in spoken and written English as literacy was absolutely crucial.

One of its teachers, Joanne Wilkins, and a pupil, Minjahul Haque, 10, were invited to Clarence House to meet Camilla. Camilla wanted to thank them for their fundraising efforts for the National Literacy Trust, of which she is patron.

The school, in one of London's most deprived areas, took part in a national fun run and raised £350 for the literacy trust. The trust today announced the millionth child to benefit from its efforts to encourage reading.

The Standard's literacy campaign has seen readers donate more than £400,000 so far. The total raised includes £100,000 from Ukrainian billionaire Kostyantin Zhevago to help save a struggling primary school in Wandsworth

Adult volunteers are being trained to read to pupils at St Mary's primary, Battersea.

Philipsen said the number of pupils without English meant Smithy Street faced a race against time to get pupils up to a modest standard before they entered secondary school.

She said the school had seen an influx of children whose parents had moved from EU countries in search of work.

She added that these children came in with no English.

She elaborated, “We had an Italian girl in year Six today and she couldn't speak a word of English, but she smiled a lot."

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